Personally, I have always found getting to and from airports (not using taxis) to be one of the more stressful parts of traveling. The major European airports are huge and sometimes finding transport upon arrival can be challenging. If you have ever felt the same, this post will help reduce this stressor.
It is a terrible experience to arrive in a foreign city, especially late at night and exhausted, unable to find your ride, and no one is willing to help you (thanks for that experience, Paris)! Believe me when I tell you that we have been stranded by more than one shuttle service too.
So, when it comes to traveling between some major European Airports and the city center, what is the best option? Based on our experiences so far, this is what we have found:
Glasgow, Scotland – Glasgow Airport Bus
Make your way to the Buchannan Bus Station and head for the violet colored airport bus. This is the best way to get to Glasgow’s International Airport. You can buy tickets on their app or when you arrive. Although they claim it is only a 15 minute ride to/from the airport, keep in mind that is once you are out of the city center. Due to traffic, it took us nearly an hour to get to the airport. Remember this for planning purposes.
Cardiff, Wales – T9 Bus
This airport seemed to be a bit more challenging for us to find easy transport information online. It really is much easier than the airport website makes it sound. When departing the arrivals terminal, a short walk will take you to the bus stop and train station link, which are well marked. We chose the bus as they run more frequently and are a little less expensive. And, one was waiting when we walked up. Just 5 pounds each offers transport directly to Cardiff Central Station. This ride takes about 1 hour due to slow traffic, but is the perfect time to catch up on things.
Heathrow, UK – Heathrow Express Train
While not the cheapest, the Heathrow Express Train is the fastest and easiest option for transport to the heart of London. Tickets are far less expensive when bought far in advance online. Trains run frequently too. This route only takes 15 minutes, getting you on your way much sooner than the underground or a cab.
It is important to note that there is also train service between Heathrow’s terminals. This is done in conjunction with TFL for free and on a separate run schedule. When you connect on these trains, your Heathrow Express ticket will work to get you through the gates. Be sure to research the difference in these trains and their services.
Brussels, Belgium – Airport Train
While the airport isn’t too far outside of town, the train is a much better option than a taxi. From the city center, head to the central train station. Here, you can buy a ticket with direct airport service for about $15.00 each. You can also buy them online in advance. Trains leave frequently and arrive directly at the departures terminal, making this a super easy and quick option. The ride is super quick and the trains are clean with plenty of spots for your luggage.
Venice, Italy – ATVO Bus
While the allure of a vaporetto may sound like the way to go, there is a much better option. After arriving at the Venice Airport, buy tickets for the ATVO bus and follow the signs. A short walk takes you to the bus station where you will validate your ticket and be on your way in no time. Passengers are dropped of at the main bus station, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Venice’s winding canals. Tickets are cheap too – about 6 euros per person at the time of this writing. And, the buses have free WiFi! Round trip tickets are a great option for your return trip.
Rome, Italy – Leonardo Express Train
This train departs often and will get you to and from the city center non-stop. You can buy tickets in advance online, but be wary of the ticket time window when purchasing. Flight delays may cause issues if you arrive more than a few hours after your scheduled ticket times. As another option, there are ticket stations in Rome airport – directly before the train’s platform. This option can have a long queue, but still moves quickly. The Leonardo Express is the easiest and quickest option and is more cost effective than a taxi or ride share. This train provides service directly to and from Termini station.
These are some of the easiest transportation options we have found getting to and from various European airports to the city centers. We will always use these options should we ever return to any of these cities. They are much more efficient and cost effective than taxis!
I love how easy train travel is in Europe! It would be so nice if train travel (and really all public transportation) was more readily available in the US.
I can’t believe the lack of train travel in the states. This is one of my favorite things about European travel for sure!
Great post! Personally never used the Heathrow Express myself; I just go via Tube. 🙂 cheaper albeit a pain during rush hour!
I’m sure! This is definitely a situation where I would rather pay just a bit more for the convenience.
Yes, public transportation is quite good in Europe so also the airport shuttles are very convenient. Practically all European airports are very easy to be accessed by reasonably prized public transportation.
It makes it a really nice way to travel to and from the city centers to the airports!
This is so useful! I hate working out how to get from an airport to the place you actually want to be. Also they really overcharge you. Sometimes it is actually worth getting a taxi if there are a few of you. The only thing I would change is just get the tube for Heathrow if you are not in a rush 🙂
They do rip you off completely. It was 50 Euros for a taxi in Paris! I know the tube is still a great option, but I prefer the convenience of the Heathrow Express. After a 9 hour flight, I don’t want to sit any longer than necessary to get into London!
This is great information. One of the first things we do is research how to get to/from the airport.
Us too! And I’m always looking for affordable, easy options.
It’s so convenient being able to get the train to and from all the main European cities. and certainly something I miss outside of europe (with the exception to Thailand, China and Malaysia). For solo travellers this is certinly a more economic option than having to rely on taixs or Uber.
Some taxis are so expensive it is cost-prohibitive!
I’ve always found getting to and from airports to be totally stressful as well. I haven’t had a chance to learn the local public transportation system yet, and hate to try to do it with a suitcase. These are all great options. I wish there were more local trains in the U.S.! #FeetDoTravel
Taking the train directly from the airport is always the way to go! I’ve taken several of these trains. Another good one is in Edinburgh. I wish Los Angeles had it as together as some of these cities.
Wouldn’t it be nice if all the major US cities offered public transportation like European cities do?!
Great info here! Thanks for sharing, some airports are so large and overwhelming.
They certainly can be! Glad you found this helpful.
Really useful information and so important to research before you travel. Anything to avoid those hideously expensive taxi trips!
Agreed – I just have a hard time shelling out $50-100 for a more responsible ride that I can pay $2-5 for.
These are very helpful and informative tips on transportation in Europe. Thanks for sharing these
Glad you found this post helpful!